Spiritual Leadership – Part 4

The fourth attribute of spiritual leadership, I would attest, is for a leader to know their true selves. This comes more naturally to a leader who takes seriously the previously suggested traits: practicing the spiritual disciplines, honoring Sabbath rest, and listening well by noticing God, others and even oneself in an ever-deepening fashion. Therefore, knowing one’s true self before God will become a by-product of the above.

In general terms, knowing ourselves begins with an acceptance of our two-fold blessedness as beloved children of God, as well as our inclination toward brokenness, as evidenced in our self-absorption, sinfulness, and residual idolatries that occupy our hearts. Blessedness and brokenness are the two sides of our human coin of life this side of heaven.

Our belovedness as sons and daughters of God is a much affirmed truth throughout the Scriptures. The biblical text is replete with examples of God’s unconditional, generous, grace-filled, lavishing, affectionate, cherished, personal, intimate, magnificent, glorious, unreserved, amazing, incredible, joy-filled, inconceivable, miraculous, eternal love (the list could go on and on!). Over and over again, the Lord is shown to be merciful, trustworthy, loving, and gracious. As the prodigal son discovered, even when he was afar off, the Father has His eyes peeled in the son’s direction. So, when he “comes to his senses” and turns toward home, the Father is running toward him with arms outstretched to lovingly welcome him home. He places a kiss on his cheek, a robe on his shoulders, a ring on his finger, new sandals for his feet, and kills a fatted calf as the feast is prepared to celebrate his joyous return. That’s belovedness-in-the-Father’s-eyes at it’s finest!

God not only initiates toward us in times of joy, but His unfailing love is a 24/7 reality even in our times of brokenness and disobedience. The Father was standing on the porch of heaven watching and waiting for the prodigal to finally awaken to the reality of his piggish lifestyle. The Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is there for us no matter the circumstances or situations of our lives. Our times of brokenness are like a magnifying glass lens over our need for God. We are desperate for God especially when we need Him the most. What awareness do you have today about your propensity to lean away from God and entertain the temptations of the enemy of your soul? Give voice to that in prayer and invite the Spirit to empower you to say “no” to such pulls away from God, and invite the Lord to reorder your loves today.

One final note: if you haven’t already taken some of the self-awareness instruments available online and in person, such as the Myers-Briggs, DISC inventory, Strengths Finder, Enneagram, etc., then I strongly suggest you do so. These helpful assessments will enlighten your pathway toward a deeper self-awareness and will be an aid to greater relational health and emotional vitality. They are no substitute to the powerful transformation that occurs when we are in the Word and prayerfully postured before God in our spiritual formation process, but they can certainly assist you as a leader in the body of Christ in all aspects of your personal vision and mission.

As the “true self” leader goes, so goes the “true self” team and all who are impacted by leadership in the organization. Always remember: the truth (yes, even about you) will set you free!